The customer is key — particularly in today’s social commerce environment. Faced with tough economic conditions, increased competition, and more informed and demanding customers, businesses must provide a superior customer experience. According to a Dimensional Research survey, 95% of respondents who have had a negative experience told someone about it or socialised it. Alternatively, 87% who had a good experience neglected to share it with anyone. This means providing a positive customer experience is essential for the success and continuation of your business.

In the Business to Business (B2B) market, actively managing customer relationships is vital. A single customer — or just a few — can significantly impact the success or even the very existence of a business. Forrester research shows that the Internet has changed the way companies do business and many now offer their products as services, instead of physical objects. This has moved businesses away from a capital expenditure-based model to the “subscription” model, thus creating a long-term customer relationship through trust and rapport. Essentially, the economic value of a customer is realised over time, instead of an up-front, one-time transaction.

The subscription economy, also known as ‘the age of the customer,’ has given the customer more control over the companies they chose to engage with for business. Customers that stay loyal to a brand can be more demanding, and if unhappy they can more readily move onto another brand. As a result, actively managing customer relationships to ensure satisfaction has become key to the success of B2B companies, particularly those supporting the e-commerce space.

The Customer Success Management Model is fast becoming the best way to provide customer support. It also ensures a company’s customers are successful with the products and able to realise the economic value from their investments. As a trusted advisor, a Customer Success Manager is dedicated to actively managing and engaging with the customer to help achieve the desired outcome.

Zogby International shows that 83% of people are willing to spend more on a product or service if they feel a personal connection to the company. For many organisations, this connection and personal interaction can be via the Customer Success Manager. One-fifth of adults surveyed said they would spend 50% more on companies that they felt put the customer first. Growth in customer loyalty and spend, increased positive word of mouth and minimal customer churn have all been witnessed as a result of positive customer experiences.

We can see an example of the impact of Customer Success Managers with Omnichannel retailer Super Retail Group, one of Australia’s top 10 specialty retailers with more than 600 stores and annual revenue in excess of $2 billion. The group has operations in Australia, New Zealand and China, and is home to Amart Sports, BCF Boating Camping Fishing, FCO Fishing Camping Outdoors, Ray’s Outdoors, Rebel, and Supercheap Auto. Super Retail Group’s online businesses work closely with Customer Success Managers from SLI Systems to improve their customers’ online shopping experiences and to boost e-commerce sales.

Elizabeth Emery, Group Web & E-Commerce Manager of Super Retail Group explains: “SLI was able to implement their site search solution on our Supercheap Auto, BCF, Rays Outdoors and FCO desktop and mobile sites within six weeks from when we signed off on the project. This was at a crucial time, leading up to our busy Christmas period. SLI was extremely dutiful and responsive. Post implementation, their flexible support model has allowed us to roll out multiple enhancements at no additional cost. Having a dedicated Customer Success Manager that is local and in our time zone has made a world of difference. I am able to engage with SLI to ensure optimal usability of our sites.”

The Customer Success Management Model works in the favor of both the company and its customers. Providing a positive customer experience through speed and responsiveness enables a significant competitive advantage. Metrics published by Dell show that 97% of unsatisfied customers can be rescued with proactive intervention and more than 40% of those customers will then become brand advocates.

A good customer experience drives growth. In today’s business environment, where the value of a customer is realised over time, the duration of the customer relationship has enormous impact on the company, its revenue and its overall success. Over time, the Customer Success Management Model will be a differentiator for companies. Those that adapt will succeed, while those who refuse to reshape or neglect the idea of customer engagement will be left behind.